A debrief? Well, I’m not exactly going to rehash this weeks palaver. We were all there. It was tedious enough for those involved; it must have been bemusing for those following along at home, to say the least. The post that launched 1000 comments, and who knows how many spin off posts.
You know, I’m sure, that I was accused of deceit and lying and other unpleasant things. And posts were made on the basis of that, even though several of these bloggers had never read my blog before. Drive by commenters, they are called. All the opinions, none of the context.
And then we had other claims; that I’d never been an atheist (oh my god at least once a month for the first two years of blogging I talked about the fact that I was!) that people were only supporting me because of the fact that I have (admittedly fabulous) breasts, that I was trying to evangelise to the Monty Python demographic (don’t even know), that I must have suffered a psychological trauma that pushed me into the arms of faith. That the fact that I was writing from beside my child’s hospital bed was the obvious key to my conversion. That I was purely a made up persona (I can’t even…).
But what threw me the most was the fact that the little group of biting, acerbic, pseudo intellectuals that spoke so dismissively of me and my life in other comment sections…used to be me.
See, when I was a committee member of the Australian Skeptics in my state (those of you who know my sir name are welcome to google that. Because, lies and everything…), we used to meet for monthly dinners and discuss just how ridiculous people of faith (and of course other topics) were. We would roll our eyes and decry anything that we couldn’t prove with the scientific method. Of course we never plumbed the depths of nastiness that the internet supplies (I’m a mod at Reddit; I know how it goes), but we were scathing and dismissive. Because we were right, and they were wrong. Because we had knowledge, and they had superstition.
So being in the scathing and dismissive and ‘right’ group is familiar to me. But this time, I wasn’t in it. In fact, I was the subject.
It made me take a step back, believe me.
And all the fears that I’d had about how people would perceive me if I became a Christian, came true. Right in front of my eyes over a period of two days.
I was being mocked.
I was being laughed at.
People said I had a psychological problem.
People posited that I was suffering from a trauma
People decided I was delusional.
People decided that I was desperately trying to belong.
All the things that I’d been so scared of when I first felt the pull of Christianity. People were actually saying them. About me.
I haven’t used the tag ‘atheism’ in my blog posts for years, because I wanted to keep a low profile (which may be why my detractors have done such a spectacularly bad job at actually finding the 40 or so posts where I’ve mentioned my own atheism). I was nervous about being made fun of, you see. But here it was, in spades.
And of course the stereotypes were all there. The ones I used to promulgate. Christians want to make everyone else a Christian. Christians are prudes. Christians are all evangelical. The stereotypes flew thick and fast. Almost amusingly. Considering I was being lambasted for promulgating the myth of the ‘angry atheist’, this group of 4 or 5 commenters were not doing a great job of proving the assertion wrong.
But you know what? In all of this, I never once thought ‘Fuck I’ve made a mistake’.
It would be easier to join the acerbic eye-rolling group. On the internet and in society. Much easier. As I said, most people I know are non-believers, from the ‘don’t care’ variety, to the ‘sharing atheist memes on FB every day’ ilk. It would be no issue at all to rejoin. I have, at heart, a biting and acerbic sense of humour. It’s my default.
And this is the first time my decision has really been challenged, in my own mind. Shit, people really don’t like Christians. Right in front of me. Evidence. These commenters were not even zoning on one or two main problems, as the original complainant had done. They were having a go at everything.
But you know what? I realised that I am utterly happy with my decision to become a Christian. It has been an astounding, eye opening and incredible experience. And I’m thrilled that it’s happened.
My fears about what might happen if I became a Christian came true, but I now realise that they never mattered at all. They can think I’m stupid. They can think I’m having a crisis. It’s OK. I don’t love it, of course. I’d rather people didn’t criticise me. But it means so much less to me than I ever thought it would. I’m positively zen about the whole thing.
I’m not trying to convince people here. I’m telling my own story. From my perspective, with my own prejudices and limitations and faults.
And I could be utterly and entirely wrong.
I’ve never claimed to have all of the answers.
I’m a Christian. I’m also a Universalist, a left winger, a gay-marriage advocate, a Monty Python fan, I swear, drink, am a feminist and like Wicca and Buddhism. I have a sharp tongue that I’m not always proud of and I’m pushed every day to be a better person. By my kids, by my self, by God.
It’s my story. I can be what I want. As can you. I have found my place, and I hope that everyone else can do the same.
As I’ve said before,
that’s good enough for me now.